The final segment of the Sunset Rocks + Appalachian Trail loop takes 25 minutes, eastwards all the way.
You will pass an abandoned structure looking like a façade with no house behind, and many raspberry bushes and wild flowers. For a while, the trail will be made of unattractive gravel, but soon it will revert to nature, near a small creek.
10 to 15 minutes after the end of the gravel, pay attention. There will be a small bridge, and you will now be very close to where you parked you car. Do not pass the "Appalachian Trail - Foot Traffic Only" sign, or you will go too far. The parking spot is to the left, a few yards before the sign.
This hike takes almost two and a half hours, but it can be shortened by half by taking the short cut as described in the 2nd segment. It is pleasant from the end of Winter to the end of Fall. It can be buggy in the Summer during the evening. The rocks are a lot of fun, but they do present some risk. Do not hesitate contacting me for more information about this and other great hikes in the region.
This part starts with an ugly deforested area, then it becomes very pleasant and peaceful. There are no rocks involved. You will see many ferns, some pleasant clearings, and a few short boardwalks to pass muddy areas. This segment also goes west, and it ends when you reach the Appalachian Trail. Turn right on the AT.
From Michaux Road to the AT should take half an hour.
This is the fun part, the Sunset Rocks. Once you're at the top of the ridge, the path turns right, and you'll be going west. The path follows the top of several rock outcroppings. It is not a "walk in the park." You need good shoes and good balance. The views are magnificent. There is some climbing involved, and if you're like me, you'll do some of it on your bottom too.
The rocks can be done in 25 minutes. Then the trail goes gently downhil, past a cabin, and reaches Michaux Road 15 minutes later (total for this segment 40 minutes). On Michaux Road, you'll turn right.
After 5 minutes going north on Michaux Road, you'll see the blue blazes going off to the left. That is the second half of the hike.
(If you're tired, continue on Michaux Road until you reach the Appalachian Trail, 10 minutes further, and go right on the AT, it will get you back to the parking spot).
From I-81, take Exit 37 (Newville) and drive 8 miles on 233 South. When you arrive at Pine Grove Furnace State Park, 233 makes a right turn. After that right turn, take the first right (very soon), on Old Shippensburg Road. Stay on that road until it peters out and stops after 1.2 miles. There are parking spots there.
Remember, the Appalachian trail has WHITE blazes, and Sunset Rocks Trail has BLUE blazes.
The AT goes perpendicular to the road where you parked, you need to find the first blue signal, as seen in the first photo. You want to go forward, not left, not right.
The first segment of the hike is quite steep, southbound, and uphill. It is not too long and you should be done in 20 minutes.
You are now on the Appalachian Trail, and you will probably encounter one hiker or two as you pass camping cabins. This is beautiful nature, but the trail is unremittingly straight. If you haven't stopped since the beginning, your legs might start feeling heavy.
This 30 minute eastbound segment ends when you reach Michaux Road again, where you will want to turn right. After 5 minutes going South on Michaux Road, you will see white blazes going off to the left: the final segment of the hike. If you go straight for three more minutes on Michaux Road (past the AT) instead, you will find, on the right, the secret P.O.W. camp remains (see Off the Beaten Path).